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Researchers discover remains of would-be immigrants haphazardly buried in mass graves

Unidentified migrants attempting to reach the United States were found buried in mass graves in a South Texas cemetery, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports.

Researchers attempting to identify immigrants who have died near the U.S.-Mexico border began exhuming bodies at the Sacred Heart Burial Park in Falfurrias in 2013; most troubling is the condition in which the unidentified people were buried, said Lori Baker, an anthropologist at Baylor University. Remains were found in trash bags, shopping bags, and occasionally in no bag at all, but merely stuffed between other coffins in the burial sites.

"To me, it's just as shocking as the mass grave that you would picture in your head," Krista Latham, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Indianapolis, said. "And it's just as disrespectful."

The mass graves are yet another example of how overwhelmed the U.S. immigration system is; county officials said they send bodies discovered in the brush country to a local funeral home for burial, and that has been the process for more than 15 years. Funeraria del Angel Howard-Williams, the operation in charge of handling the unidentified decedents, declined to comment on the burial procedures for those deceased immigrants.